Lawmakers are demanding to hear directly from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on the growing controversy over the misuse of its data by Trump-linked Cambridge Analytica, as the social network confronts its most serious political crisis ever in Washington.
For now, the company is sending lower-level staffers to brief a half-dozen congressional committees about how data on more than 50 million users ended up in the hands of Cambridge during the 2016 campaign. But Facebook’s Washington, D.C., troubles show no signs of abating amid news that the FTC has opened a data-privacy investigation into the company and as its stock price takes yet another hit.
Several lawmakers want top Facebook executives to testify — with some Republicans joining Democrats’ criticism of the onetime Capitol Hill darling. Some said it’s just a matter of time before Zuckerberg, the company’s hoodie-wearing CEO and founder, or Sandberg, the chief operating officer and “Lean In” author, have to explain themselves to Congress.
“I want to know why this happened, and what’s the extent of the damage, and how they’re going to fix it moving forward,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Tuesday when asked about the briefings. Facebook executives, she added, “aren’t coming yet, but they better come.”
“Eventually, Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify; he needs to be subpoenaed if he won’t do it voluntarily,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who had urged the FTC to investigate the affair. “They can begin with some staff people, but it’s only the beginning.”